Hospitality comes from the Latin term philoxenia, or ‘the love of strangers.’ And stranger is defined as ‘someone with whom you have not yet been acquainted.’ Therefore, your objective as a builder of organizational front porches is to extend love to those with whom you have not yet been acquainted.
The effectiveness of any organization’s front porch is a function of its hospitality – that of its members, its staff and the group itself. In this article we’ll take a closer look at approachability as it pertains to the connectedness of groups – namely, The New Guys; because those are the individuals who benefit from it the most.
When I began wearing a nametag all day, every day, the type of people with whom I most frequently interacted was strangers. (They still are) And I love it! It’s a blessing to extend my front porch to new and interesting people, all the while making them feel comfortable because of the level of approachability. What’s more, what an accomplishment it is to combat the coarsening of our fear-laden culture by opening up to new people.
But when I started my business a few years ago, I joined several organizations, clubs, groups, etc. and began to feel the reciprocity of that same hospitality. As The New Guy – not to mention the young guy – existing members welcomed me with open arms. They gave me the inside track on the organization. Some even offered to take me under their wing! And I was grateful. I was comfortable.
Most importantly, I felt welcomed.
To solidify the approachability of you and your organization, here are the Attitudes of Awesome Hospitality™.
AWESOME ATTITUDE #1: Beyond Hello
People often believe that a quick greeting, a handshake and a mutual offering of Fruitless Questions and F.I.N.E’s equals hospitality.
Hospitality is more than just saying hello. And nobody understands this element of hospitality better than a Ritz Carlton employee – especially a doorman; especially my coworker DeWitt.
The first time I met DeWitt was on a crisp fall morning on the front drive. I introduced myself and he gave me a solid handshake, a cheeky smile and pat on the back. He started telling me all about hospitality and Guest Service at the Ritz, and gave me some great tips to make the guests feel welcome.
After a few hours of check-ins and getting to know each other, DeWitt said something I’ll never forget:
‘Scott, I want to sell you a boat.’
‘You…want to sell me…a boat? Oh-kayyy…what kind of boat…?’
‘Well, it’s actually not really boat. It’s more of a ship: Friendship, Fellowship and Relationship. What do you say?’
I’ll take it.
That is the essence of Awesome Hospitality. Not just saying hello. Not just introducing yourself, but offering a new person your friendship, fellowship and relationship.
AWESOME ATTITUDE #2: How to Treat Others
Hospitality is also an expression of the Golden Rule, which as you know is ‘treat others as you want to be treated.’ Everyone knows this phrase. It’s been ingrained into our minds and souls by our parents, our teachers and our mentors.
But does everyone practice the Golden Rule?
Here’s another way to look at it: do you remember when YOU were The New Guy? Did people extend themselves? Did you feel welcomed? If so, you probably connected with new people immediately, took an active role in the organization and felt proud to be a part of it. If not, you probably never came back to another meeting again.
So you can put this phrase into practice by empathizing with the new people, the visitors and guests. Think how great it felt to be welcomed in. Remember: you used to be The New Guy.
AWESOME ATTITUDE #3: The Member Mindset
It’s impossible to talk about any organization without using the word member. Think of the groups of which you are a member – what does that mean to you?
You might say ‘Being a member allows me to be part of the group,’ or ‘Being a member means I get to go to all the meetings.’ But most people see membership as entitlement:
I looked up member in several dictionaries and none of them said anything about entitlement. They didn’t say anything about paying dues so you could get exclusive benefits. They simply defined it as “one that belongs to a group or an organization.”
When did this Member Mindset evolve into ‘What stuff do I get when I join?’ People forget that being part of an organization has more to do with serving others, and less to do with being served by others.
AWESOME ATTITUDE #4: Who Are Your Greeters?
If there’s any group of individuals who extend their organizational front porch by serving new people, it’s the Greeters. During one of my speeches at a Hospitality Conference, I asked my audience of 300 people to stand up if their position was ‘Greeter.’
About 25 people got up.
I thanked those who stood and asked the remainder of the audience to give them a hearty applause.
When the clapping died down I said, ‘Without Greeters like these, building front porches in any organization would be tough.’
I then said, ‘But what if The New Guy – let’s call him Terry – came to your group. He walked in the door, looked around for a minute and felt a bit lost. Then Janet, an existing member, noticed Terry’s behavior and decided to approach him. She struck up a conversation and they connected immediately! And all the while, Janet made Terry feel welcomed, comfortable and part of the group.
A few minutes later, Terry asked, ‘So, Janet…are you one of the Greeters here?’
And Janet said, ‘No – I just wanted to welcome you to our group.’’
I just wanted to welcome you to our group.
I then repeated my original request to the audience:
‘Now, let me ask you this one more time: please stand up if you are a Greeter for your organization.’
300 people got up out of their chairs. And I reminded them that everyone is a greeter.
These are the keys to the Attitude of Awesome Hospitality™ – going beyond hello, treating others as you would want to be treated, offering service and taking it upon yourself to be a greeter. They are the starting points for the construction of your organizational front porch. After all, one of the major domains of approachability is: capable of being reached.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s the most hospitable church or temple you’ve ever been to?